Dems deny Nike tax certainty for smaller businesses


Senate Republican Office

Dems: tax certainty only for a select few big corporations

Salem, OR – Using a parliamentary move known as a “minority report,” Republicans tried bringing a proposal to the Senate floor that would give all Oregon businesses a chance at tax certainty.  Republicans believe that giving all Oregon businesses the same access to tax certainty is fair, and will help spur economic growth.  Democrats rejected the effort along party lines.

“Extending this opportunity to a wider cross-section of Oregon businesses doesn’t cost the state a dime, but it is priceless to businesses that want to grow and hire more employees,” said Senator Alan Olsen (R-Canby). “It represents jobs for unemployed families and additional revenue for the state. This was a good idea in December and it is a good idea today.”

The minority report that Republicans pushed as an alternative to House Bill 2059 would empower the Governor to give tax certainty to any company willing to make an investment in Oregon. The bill removes the threshold of $150 million and 500 full-time jobs, giving the Governor flexibility to solicit companies of various sizes and capabilities, rather than limiting the focus to a select few big corporations. In December of last year, the legislature gave the Governor authority to negotiate tax certainty with Nike, but left out other small and mid-sized Oregon businesses.

Under the proposal, the Governor could grant a contract that would guaranty a company’s tax liability is calculated using Oregon’s current single-sales factor, which doesn’t count payroll or property when determining how much a multi-state corporation owes. Instead, Oregon law only looks at sales in the state. Locking in a taxation method for companies allows them to predict and plan for the future, an invaluable tool for growth and success.

“This is an issue of fairness and equity and fostering healthy competition that creates a thriving economy and living-wage jobs,” said Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood). “Businesses small and large should have a chance at predictability. Only giving big corporations access to this type of treatment is patently unfair, and hurts our economy in the long run.”

“Tax certainty is a powerful tool that can help Oregon create family wage jobs and leave this recession well behind us,” said Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis).  “If tax certainty is good for one business, it is good for all Oregon businesses, and should be available to all businesses.”

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) characterized the defeat of the proposal as a missed opportunity. “I believe Oregonians will look back on this vote as a major failure of this legislature. This was a simple, inexpensive way to spur job creation and vitality in our state, but it was dismissed out of hand by the majority party.”